Ensuring effective intercultural communication in the emergency department
Intended for healthcare professionals

Ensuring effective intercultural communication in the emergency department

Dympna Tuohy Lecturer, Department of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Education and Health Sciences, University of Limerick, Limerick, Republic of Ireland
Evan Wallace Registered advanced nurse practitioner, emergency department, University Hospital Limerick, Limerick, Republic of Ireland

Why you should read this article:
  • To enhance your knowledge and understanding of intercultural communication principles and challenges

  • To reflect on intercultural communication in your workplace and on how you may be able to help enhance it

  • To count towards revalidation as part of your 35 hours of CPD, or you may wish to write a reflective account (UK readers)

  • To contribute towards your professional development and local registration renewal requirements (non-UK readers)

Globalisation and migration trends are reflected in emergency departments (EDs), which increasingly care for patients and employ staff from diverse cultural and/or ethnic backgrounds. EDs are busy, pressured and unpredictable environments where effective communication with patients and families is challenging at the best of times. This is compounded by language and cultural barriers experienced by patients and families whose background differs from the prevailing culture. Cultural differences and language comprehension may also be a challenge for overseas nurses recruited to the ED, who may need support from colleagues and organisations. ED nurses therefore need to be competent in intercultural communication. This involves combining optimal interpersonal skills with cultural awareness, knowledge and sensitivity.

Emergency Nurse. doi: 10.7748/en.2022.e2122

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software



Conflict of interest

None declared

Tuohy D, Wallace E (2022) Ensuring effective intercultural communication in the emergency department. Emergency Nurse. doi: 10.7748/en.2022.e2122

Published online: 10 March 2022

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